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Rachel's Rhumba

totaljim's picture

Here's a rhumba in A, using the backing track from Joe Filisko's "Bhumba Rhumba."



David Barrett's picture

CH1 - Good use of Chorus Forms... nice 3' on the IV... interesting how you played your V idea through bar 10
CH2 - Very cool first lick
CH3 - Nice use of the harp's range
CH4 - Nice dynamic change and use of octaves
CH5 - Yes, needed that bluesy tension of the two note combinations
CH6 - Nice dynamic change again and continued use of textures (that's great you're using textures throughout the song for interest... bravo)
CH7 - Head
CH8 - Head variation... VERY nice

Your Chorus Form knowledge is very good, it's now time to start breaking out of the structure a bit. I recommend you focus on Improvising Study 5. Also, work on adding more pickups to your phrases in the first part of the song. I know you're trying to save activity for later choruses... it's great you're cognizant of this as a compositional tool... but I feel the first half of the song is too sparse. Also be cautious of overusing the root. You did a great job by glissing down to the 1 draw in CH2... use more of that. Always a pleasure listening to your work!

Lee's comments

Lee Sankey's picture

Hi there,

Nice simple melody on the head. What I like about this tune is the range of variation you've packed in. There are single notes, chords, octaves, dynamics as well as utilising the range of harp. It's not one dimensional.

The use of the chords at 1:16 is a nice surprise. I also like the way you incorporate them in the outro, especially the subtle rhythmic patch at 3:07. That's the sweetest part of the tune, really clever timing. You build the intensity, ending on a high. The outro section is for me the strongest part of the cut. You're also throwing in some longer notes in there as well which is nice to hear.

Some things to consider for the future. Right now your vibrato's not very strong. Try to work on adding more 'shape' to single notes. It's hard but if you start to make your notes sing it will make a big difference to the techniques you already have. You're not quite swinging. Try to really focus on being in the pocket. You can do it. That little patch at 3.07 shows you can. The only core technique you didn't use was your hands, so maybe think about getting some tone variation or fanning your chords for some additional texture. Experiment with the timing of the hands so they're really in the pocket.

Hope this helps,


Good job!

jodanchudan's picture

Very cool laid back feel throughout and I like those cool bends in the second chorus. Good job!

Steve's comments

Steve Baker's picture

Nice sparse head idea. The first part of the impro seems a little hesitant though, and I felt the intonation on some of the bends was slightly weak. It's certainly good to begin at less than full power, but it still needs to sound confident. The whole thing picks up strongly with the octaves around 1.20 and you seemed to gain confidence and began playing more powerfully. Nice repeat of head from around 2:30 and good variation on it in final chorus. Strong ending too. When you go for it everything sounds much better, just trust yourself and play what you feel.

Bet Rachel likes it!

robfraser's picture

You've got a great vibe going on here, Jim. Really relaxed- fits the rhumba track well. Excellent acoustic tone and some great licks for us to poach! Well played!


marcos's picture

I like the laid-back, flowing head and the return to it.
I especially liked the choruses with the octaves. Good contrast.
Nice dynamics changes.

Well done!!

hank stefaniak's picture

I like the head you used and then the follow up chorus reflected it nicely. Bends gave it a smooth feel. Bleeds really worked well and nice dynamics in there. I enjoyed it - thanks!